Pirates Notebook: Ascanio's shoulder injury new

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CHICAGO -- One of the Pirates' many recent trade acquisitions, reliever Jose Ascanio, yesterday was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder tendinitis.

General manager Neal Huntington said that Ascanio, part of the four-pitcher exchange July 30 that sent John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Chicago Cubs, had no such condition at the time of the transaction.

"He was cleared physically prior to the trade with no issues," Huntington said. "According to our medical staff, he had no pre-existing conditions and this is a new injury."

Ascanio informed the coaching staff of "soreness," manager John Russell said, after facing three batters Tuesday in Denver and did not pitch again.

Asked if he ever experienced shoulder pain before Tuesday, Ascanio replied, "Never. It just came. I don't know what it is."

He will be examined by the Pirates' physicians tomorrow in Pittsburgh. There was guarded optimism that the matter is minor, mostly because the soreness is in the back of the shoulder.

The team had been discussing going to a six-man rotation in September, one that would add Ascanio, but that now is on hold.

Bautista, Bixler up

The Pirates recalled reliever Denny Bautista and utilityman Brian Bixler from Class AAA Indianapolis.

Bautista had a 4.88 ERA in 36 appearances for Indianapolis, including 10 runs in his past six appearances. He had the freshest arm, though, and the Pirates' 17-2 loss Friday made that the priority.

Bixler, who struck out in 18 of his 25 at-bats in an earlier stint this season, was batting .278 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs with Indianapolis, including a .335 tear and all of those home runs in the past two months.

He also was moved to several positions beyond his natural one at shortstop, including center field.

"It went well, I thought," Bixler said. "I was comfortable everywhere."

To clear space on the 40-man roster for Bautista, the Pirates designated for assignment outfielder Jeff Salazar, who was 1 for 23 in limited duty. The team hopes he clears waivers and stays in the system.

Buried treasure

• Phil Dumatrait was moved from Indianapolis' rotation to its bullpen, to prepare him to join the Pirates' bullpen within the week. He would be the Pirates' only left-handed reliever.

• Catcher Ryan Doumit returned after missing two games to a bruised right wrist and went 0 for 4 to drop his season average to .229.

• The Pirates' three scouts Friday at the Toronto-Tampa Bay game in St. Petersburg, Fla., were there only for a staff-development event, not to eye a potential trade.

• Chicago first baseman Derrek Lee, on what the Pirates were saying to him while he was on the basepaths during the rout Friday: "They were saying, 'Uncle. It's too hot for us to be out here this long.' "


Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog . Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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